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Fortunately, workers in the United States are protected by a number of state and federal employment laws that address things such as discrimination, wages, and benefits in the workplace. If you find that you have a medical emergency that requires you to take time off from work, for example, your job may be protected under the Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA. Among the many questions you may have regarding the FMLA is “ Does FMLA leave have to be taken all at once? ” Though the answer to that particular question is “no”, there are certain caveats and restrictions that apply when you are not taking FMLA leave all at once.

The Family and Medical Leave Act allows eligible employees who work for a covered employer to take up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave for qualified family and medical emergencies. Qualified reasons include:

  • the birth of a child and to care for the newborn child within one year of birth;
  • the placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care and to care for the newly placed child within one year of placement;
  • to care for the employee’s spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition;
  • a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job;
  • any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a covered military member on “covered active duty

Leave may be extended to 26 weeks if the leave is necessary to care for a servicemember under certain circumstances.

Assuming you meet all the requirement to be an eligible employee, and that your employer is a covered employer, you may take your FMLA all at once or you may be able to use your leave to reduce your work schedule or as intermittent leave. Intermittent leave means you take hours, or days, at a time instead of just taking 12 weeks off all at once. Special rules apply, however, when leave is not going to be taken all at once, including, but not limited to:

  • Unless your employer agrees, you may not use reduced schedule or intermittent leave for the birth of a child or following the adoption of a child.
  • If the need for leave is foreseeable you must provide your employer with reasonable notice that you intend to take leave.
  • You may be required to negotiate the terms of your leave with your employer if you use your leave to create a reduced schedule or as intermittent leave.
  • Your employer may be able to transfer you to another position within the company that facilitates your reduced schedule or intermittent leave needs better as long as it provides the same pay and benefits.

If you have additional questions or concerns about FMLA leave or employment law in general, contact the experienced Florida employment law attorneys at Celler Legal, P.A. by calling 954-716-8601 to schedule your appointment.